Shaper/Alaia Enthusiast

The Inertia

It worked! A new pro division has been added to the competitive surfing world. Twenty four contestants battled it out to decide the first pro champ at Noosa’s First Point. Although, the surf was not spectacular, the surfing was. The first heats had fast peeling waves and the wood alaia riders had an advantage with the faster boards. As the day progressed, the tide filled in, the waves fattened up, and the foam boards became a better option. Christian Wach took out the competition on his 5’ 3” Seaglass Tuna while yours truly took second on an experimental soft version of the Tuna.

This contest proved that the finless division is relevant. There was a contest criterion that the judges and the surfers discussed, and the division between finned and finless boards became very clear. Some people wanted the finless division to include only wooden alaias – thereby excluding the foam version.

As much as I LOVE wood alaias, it would be very difficult to make a contestable division ­– exclusively. They require hyper-specific parameters as far as conditions go. For example, Harrison Roach on the alaia was the favorite for sure, but after numerous heats on the wood and then softer waves in the final, he lost his edge. The foam boards ride a much wider range of surf, and by combining the wood and foam boards, you can plan a finless event and be much more secure about it succeeding.

Another important point is that the Seaglass Tuna we developed rides really well. It competed with the wood on pretty equal footing and Christian ended up taking the title with one beneath his feet. Granted, I’m biased, but this is important because there is now a standard finless surfboard that is readily available all over the world. Anyone interested in trying finless surfing or putting on a finless event can easily get quality boards.

The day was a fantasy for me as I got to watch top surfers ride all sorts of finless boards. I probably learned more about finless boards during this day than I had in several months. The beauty of the contest is that it brings top finless riders to one place at one time. We created an environment to share thoughts on design and style that is otherwise hard to achieve. This year’s Noosa Festival was a nine day celebration of surfing and the surfing lifestyle. The contest divisions are the glue that holds it all together.

Christian Wach won a new Seaglass tuna as part of the prize. He intends to sell the board and donate the money to the Japanese surfing appeal.

Please check out Christian’s blog here.

  • walrus

    i still don’t get the ‘need’ for finless contests. does everything have to be a contest? the get together in the film Surfica Musica makes more sense to me

  • Tom Wegener

    In reply to Walrus, Musica Surfica is a great film and was a fun event. But, it actually was a contest. Derek had made some criteria and heats were surfed. But when the surf was good the nature of the surfers took over and the contest was forgotten. The event was sponsored by the Australian Chamber Orchestra so we were all looked after on King Island. The filmers, especially the great Mick Sowrey, did it as a labor of love and definitely made no money on it. This was a great fluke event that turned out excellent due to the big efforts of Mick, Richard Tognetti and Derek Hynd.

    But, there has to be a compelling reason for a bunch of top surfers to show up at the same place at the same time. Usually it is free food and accommodation at a great location, and in this case concerts by Richard Tognetti & Co,which left the intimate gathering spell bound. Also there was a contest the film did not show and Richard won it.

    Contests are not really the problem. If there are are problems with them, they are due to the people involved. I still cannot think of a better way to get top surfers together than to hold a contest as the “glue” and where possible offer prize money.
    Come to think of it, support film-makers like Mick Sowrey. You can buy Musica Surfica on line via his blog;

  • A screamer of an event ala Tommy!


    CONTEST = MONEY MACHINE… whether it be china boards or real ones.

  • Remi Petersen

    when is the next one? would love to try het over there. looks like so much fun!

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